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Weeks had passed since the emissaries from the Iron Throne had arrived at the Old Palace of Sunspear, and the lords and knights and ladies in that company seemed to have found a place at the court that was, if not comfortable, at least safe. Though there were tensions—snide remarks and sullen glances, whispers behind backs and any number of minor discourtesies offered them by some of the Dornish—it had seemed peaceful enough. Perhaps in the cause of improving relations further, perhaps merely to show his strong support for the embassy, Prince Marence commanded a tourney with rich prizes. It would be the first time knights from beyond the mountains had ridden in a tourney in Dorne since the Targaryen occupation. More than forty knights entered the tournament, including several from the embassy, and in time it was narrowed down to half a score.
And despite the fears, the jousting went well despite the fact that Lord Athell Connington and Lord Joscelyn Mallister of the embassy were among the final ten. Though some of their opponents seemed to wish them ill, no man dared try to do them undue harm, not when Prince Marence was watching (and riding in the tourney, as well, as had his brother Prince Cadan). Great skill was showed by many of the knights who rode, and even the squire Danyll Toland who would go on to defeat Prince Marence as well as his own, famed brother Ser Tamlyn Toland. His master, Ser Aidan Dayne, rode with his famed skill—and though he was unhorsed twice in the course of the tournament, it was not without unhorsing his opponents at the same time: the first contest against the fiercesome Ser Laurent Dalt, the knight called the Sand Dog, left the Knight of the Twilight defeated, but the second against his cousin Ser Tamlyn proved him a better sword. Yet the Knight of the Twilight might have been helped by the fact that Toland had fought the most famous match of the day, ten courses against Dread Daven Wyl that shattered fourteen lances between them before Wyl was at last over-thrown.
Other knights had fine showings, showing great skill, from Darion Fowler who sent old Lord Connington on his way out of the tourney, and gave Prince Marence his final loss of the day, to Cullen Manwoody who would drive Fowler from his seat in turn. But at the end, the competitors had narrowed to just four… and one of those was no knight, but the squire Danyll Toland. As fate would have it, Toland would face Ser Aidan, the man who had trained him from his youth. The Knight of the Twilight might be considered the finest jouster in Dorne, yet hadn’t he been twice unhorsed? Hadn’t his squire defeated champions in his own right? There were those who wagered on the youth’s behalf, and some whispered that Dayne might (for once) let glory go to another and yield to Toland… but he did something better. Though he rode against him, though they broke lances one against the other, Ser Aidan unhorsed his squire. And then, before the sight of gods and men alike, he called for a sword and granted Danyll his knighthood, then and there. There were cheers for the young knight, who would rise in a daze as he was acclaimed.
And then it was the Knight of the Twilight to face Joscelyn the Just. Lord Mallister was a champion in the riverlands, and a man who won his byname from the time he held a garrison at Skyreach for the Young Dragon with honor and courage, and he had ridden with great skill, unhorsing men to left and right until the Sand Dog finally put him in the dirt. Against Dayne, the contest proved close, both knights breaking lances—but it was the Knight of the Twilight’s day to contest for the final prize. He need only defeat Ser Laurent Dalt… twice, for Dalt had been undefeated, defeating all comers. The gods must have favored Ser Aidan’s lance, for he achieved it, though it was a near thing. And so he added another tournament victory to his credit, taking the prize and the glory of it, and placing the crown of the queen of love and beauty in the hands of his cousin, the lady Tanyth Toland, who had watched him defeat her brothers (and knight the youngest) as he wore her favor.
So ended the jousting, without the incidents some feared might take place.
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